by Mark Daul
If you are into fishing and would like to try your hand at fishing competitively, here is your chance. I hate to say it, but summer is winding down. Before you know it, it's back to school, tune up the furnace or chop the wood, winterize your home and your boat and brace yourself.
But there is still plenty of time to get out and get some quality fishing in as the fall brings on those hungry fish that are trying to fatten up for the winter. The bass go crazy, the walleye can't get enough to eat fast enough and the trout and salmon will be right behind all this as the waters cool.
It's long been known that the earliest king salmon start moving in from the lake in mid-August and are generally caught by shore fishermen in the Devil's Hole and Whirlpool Park areas first, on silver spinners like the No. 4 and 5 Super Vibrax and Little Cleo spoons. These "early arrival" fish are considered the "scouts" by anglers, finding good places to spawn for the rest that follow.
If you didn't fish either of the July bass contests, there are a couple of walleye contests coming up that might be of interest to you. The first one is the Walleye Classic IV, taking place today, Aug. 13 from sun-up to 2 p.m. It's sponsored by A-1 Bait and Outdoors Niagara.
Taking place in the lower Niagara River only, there's a $25 entry fee that includes $5 towards the Lunker Award - for the biggest walleye of the day. The Classic features a 100 percent payback to the contestants paying for first place, second place and third place plus the Lunker prize money. Afterward, there's a free hot dog and salad picnic at 2 p.m. at the Lewiston Landing gazebo (BYOB).
The public is invited to check out the fish weigh-ins taking place between 1 and 2 p.m. at the village weigh station on Water Street.
Coming up, the Fish Odyssey - the 35th annual fall Classic Derby - also known as the Curt Meddaugh Memorial, covering Orleans-Niagara-Erie counties and taking place from Aug. 20-28.
Fish for salmon, steelhead/brown trout, lake trout, smallmouth bass, walleye and carp. There's a $2,500 grand prize, plus prizes of $500 for first place, $250 for second and $125 for third offered in each species, based on 500 adults registered. Registration is $20 for adults and no cost for children fishing in a special category. Fishing waters include the Niagara River (upper and lower), plus lakes Erie and Ontario.
For more information visit www.fishodyssey.net.
Then there's the Niagara River Anglers Association walleye contest on Saturday, Aug. 27, with fishing from sun-up to 2 p.m. The fishing area is the lower Niagara only with weigh-in at Lewiston Landing and a picnic to follow. The contest features a 100 percent payback with a $5 optional big fish award. Both of these contests feature total weight of just two fish be entered in the interest of conservation.
For more on the walleye contest, visit www.niagarariveranglers.com or call Creek Road Bait and Tackle at 807-6111.
The last competition of the 2011 fishing season is the annual LOC Derby, which opens Aug. 18 and continues to Sept. 5 in Lake Ontario counties across the state. Competition includes salmon, brown trout, lake trout and steelhead contests. For more details or sign up, visit www.LOC.org.
Wrapping up, bass fishing continues to be good in the lower Niagara and in the lake. The drifting moss that hampers early summer fishing has all cleared up and the walleye are cooperating nicely. If you are fishing the lower river for bass, drift along the U.S. Coast Guard station out into the lake and fish around the red can buoy, but not much beyond that. This area is known as "the bar." Bass will be hanging out there. If fishing from shore, you will do well trying the public docks in Youngstown, using a night crawler or crayfish drifted along the bottom. Cast up river and let your bait settle and drift it downstream. You can do the same at the Lewiston Landing.
If you don't get snagged up on the bottom at times you are not on the bottom and that is where the lunkers lay. Don't be surprised if you nail a walleye as they are on the move in the river now. Walleye come abundant in early August through September.